News on Health & Science

Web Self-Diagnosis Ups Anxiety Attack


Playing doctor on the web often leads people to mistakenly believe that they are suffering from rare illnesses, according to a study by researchers at Microsoft.

[amazon_link asins=’B00GMHWSDM,B00MZGVCOK,B00HYZFCL6,1498549667′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’fc8919be-45b5-11e7-a720-157a7ded2c3b’]

“Web search engines have the potential to escalate medical concerns,” or “cyberchondria”, Ryen White and Eric Horvitz wrote in the study published by the Redmond, Washington-based software company. They described cyberchondria as “unfounded increases in health anxiety based on the review of web content”.

White, an expert in text mining, web search and navigation, and Horvitz, another Microsoft researcher who is president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, noted that the internet provides an “abundant source” of medical information.

“However, the web has the potential to increase the anxieties of people who have little or no medical training, especially when web search is employed as a diagnostic procedure,” they said.

“Common, likely innocuous symptoms can escalate into the review of content on serious, rare conditions that are linked to the common symptoms,” they said.

For example, web surfers with a headache may determine they have a brain tumor or those with chest pain that they are suffering a heart attack.

“A brain tumor is a concerning possibility when a searcher experiences headache,” the researchers said. “However, the probability of a brain tumor given a general complaint of headache is typically quite low.”

“Such escalations from common symptoms to serious concerns may lead to unnecessary anxiety, investment of time, and expensive engagements with healthcare professionals,” White and Horvitz said.

The researchers said the study was aimed at “improving the search and navigation experience for people turning to the web to interpret common symptoms” and determining “the challenges that cyberchondria presents for search engine designers.”

Sources: The Times Of India

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

3 replies on “Web Self-Diagnosis Ups Anxiety Attack”


If you deemI do not care to see this article, the next time I am followed about your article, I think I will never again careless. Do you trust yourself, you do not know your article can make people so crazy about.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.